Anti-aging medicine and nutrition is big business these days, as most baby boomers are trying anything and everything to look and feel younger. In my acupuncture practice, many of my patients have asked me if I do cosmetic acupuncture or if I know much about using food and herbs to take a few years off their appearance.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to look and feel younger, this desire can easily block us from the deeper issues that deserve our attention. The questions that I always come back to are, ‘What is causing you to look or feel older than your years in the first place?’ and ‘Is it fundamentally healthy to desire a more youthful appearance or is it a sign that we are denying the very natural process of birth, old age, and death?’
So, what is the real cause of premature aging? Why are so many people feeling worn out before their years? Why are so many women hitting perimenopause in their late 30’s instead of their late 40’s? Why are degenerative illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, and osteoporosis increasing at astonishing rates?
Well, I believe that my health article on addresses this issue quite sufficiently. Many people have lost the ability to rest and restore. They are always ‘on’– they can’t quiet their minds and their bodies are in a chronic state of contraction. They have forgotten to breathe deeply. As a result, some of the most fundamental inputs into health and longevity, such as diet and exercise, often go ignored. Why? Because something is missing on a foundational level.
Diet and exercise are of course important inputs into how we age. But there is something much more fundamental that ultimately determines how youthful we are and appear, which is the extent to which we spiritually inhabit our bodies and are conscious of the fact that the body is a vessel for our awareness. If we forget that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, then we won’t be fully awake and alive within our skin. We will overly identify with the body as who we are.We won’t see that we have a choice to bring more light, space, and energy into our bodies simply by heightening our awareness and anchoring our spirits more deeply into this physical dimension.
Yes, there are supplements, herbs, and treatments that can help us to look and feel younger. The real goal, however, is to actually become fully embodied as a human being. Awaken all of your senses and know that there is a deeply spiritual presence that is inhabiting your body. That is the basis of health and longevity. In fact, this aspect of who we are is eternal.It does not age. It was never born and it never dies.
A lot of people are turning to the anti-aging industry because they fear impermanence and death. Looking older is a reminder of their mortality. My interest is in helping people become liberated from this form of suffering rather than putting a bandage on their issues by taking a few wrinkles out of their face.
As a health practitioner, I believe it’s paramount to keep returning to the question, ‘What really matters?’ If you think about it, what this world needs more than anything is massive amounts of individuals choosing to wake up, open their hearts, and live with purpose. If it was really helpful to focus on appearances, I would be all for it.But our world needs a much deeper level of treatment than this if it is to sustain itself for much longer.
Izumi “Zoe” Schutz, L.Ac., is a Licensed and Board Certified Acupuncturist and the founder or Morning Quail Acupuncture in Austin, Texas.